How do proteins fold?

Nath, Utpal ; Udgaonkar, Jayant B. (1997) How do proteins fold? Current Science, 72 (3). pp. 180-191. ISSN 0011-3891

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Understanding the mechanism by which an unfolded polypeptide chain folds to its unique, functional structure is a primary unsolved problem in biochemistry. Fundamental advances towards understanding how proteins fold have come from kinetic studies. Kinetic studies allow the dissection of the folding pathway of a protein into individual steps that are defined by partially-structured folding intermediates. Improvements in both the structural and temporal resolution of physical methods that are used to monitor the folding process, as well as the development of new methodologies, are now making it possible to obtain detailed structural information on protein folding pathways. The protein engineering methodology has been particularly useful in characterizing the structures of folding intermediates as well as the transition state of folding. Several characteristics of protein folding pathways have begun to emerge as general features for the folding of many different proteins. Progress in our understanding of how structure develops during folding is reviewed here.

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